Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain: Francis (“Frank”) J. Walton, of Princeton Junction, NJ, passed away peacefully on June 16, 2012. He was 86 years old.
Born in Philadelphia, PA, to the late Frank L. and Mercedes E. Walton, Frank was the eldest of six children who survived to adulthood. For 62 years, he was happily married to the love of his life and best friend, Claire (née Guertin). He also enjoyed being a proud, caring and inspiring father to two daughters, Claire Ellen and Andrea. A member of the “Greatest Generation,” Frank served his country as a Staff Sergeant in the US Army (Rainbow Division) during World War II and was a Prisoner of War in Germany. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Along with faith, family and friends, education held a special place in Frank’s heart. After graduating from La Salle High School in Philadelphia, Frank worked his way through La Salle University and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Secondary Education. In 1954, he received his M.ED in Secondary Education/School Administration from Temple University. Frank also did post-graduate/doctoral work at Rutgers University.
From 1949-1953, Frank taught in the Philadelphia School District. Moving on to a new chapter in his professional life, he served as Principal of West Windsor’s Dutch Neck School. The decade spanning 1959-1969 saw Frank serve as Superintendent of Schools for West Windsor Township. A born leader, innovator and visionary, Frank made a number of important contributions to the quality and character of education in the district. For example, he was instrumental in bringing world language instruction to the elementary school curriculum, and in making learning and literature available to all throughout the township in the days prior to the building of the local library through the institution of the bookmobile. He was also involved in the forging of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. A stalwart oak tree dedicated to Frank in the early 60s by Brownie Troop 145 continues to watch over and provide cool shelter to students at Maurice Hawk School.
In 1969, Frank made the decision to return to the principalship in order to have more direct daily interaction with students and teachers – something he truly enjoyed. It was not unusual for him to know the name of each child in the school, and to care about his or her wellbeing. Frank spent two years as Principal of the Kreps School in East Windsor, NJ, and then 16 years as head of the Mill Lake School in Monroe Township, NJ, before retiring in 1987.
A true Philadelphian, Frank was passionate and knowledgeable about sports, particularly the Phillies and the Eagles. He also enjoyed music (both singing and listening), shopping, history, reading, animals, yard work and travel. He retained a lifelong love of learning.
In addition to his wife and daughters, Frank is survived by a sister, Mercedes; a brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Gwyn; a sister-in-law, Theresa; a son-in-law, Hamid; and many loving nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation and funeral arrangements are at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Frank J. Walton’s memory are requested to the following charities:
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (http://www.michaeljfox.org/help_honorMemoryGifts.cfm)
National Parkinson’s Foundation (http://www.parkinson.org/parkinson-s-disease.aspx)
American Heart/Stroke Association (http://honor.americanheart.org/site/TR?pxfid=240801&pg=fund&fr_id+1030)